12 Months at Brightshire

Twelve months ago, I took the plunge to set up my own accountancy practice specialising in the rural sector. It has been everything I wanted it to be and so much more.   The practice has grown from being myself and my operations manager Lesley Garratt to now 4 of us, introducing during the year William O’Connor and Amy Gallagher.

We are also hoping to increase the team even further this year, by adding a qualified Accountant and another A level/Graduate trainee.   The growth of the practice has been down to the ethos that we set out in the beginning, to focus on the exciting and challenging areas of client’s businesses and to make a difference.

This has been captured in the accomplishments the practice have achieved, to name a few:

  1. Succession planning – Brightshire were asked to advise on the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on the transfer of a farm and partnership interest whilst the client was also moving lender.   The advice enabled the transaction to happen at a crucial time whilst avoiding further unnecessary delay and ensuring no SDLT was due.
  2. Advising on the separation of a farming partnership and company between siblings.  We assisted the solicitors in the drafting of legal agreements to secure protection for our client. This also involved advice around the appropriation of trust assets. The planning undertaken enabled the client to save £000’s in corporation tax, income tax, capital gains tax and SDLT whilst being able to reach a settlement.
  3. Brightshire were instrumental in planning with a client the best structure for their partnership, including the ownership of assets following years of diversification.  At least 38% of the value of the property had been converted to residential and commercial lets.  The planning undertaken was to protect the estate against Inheritance Tax. Unfortunately, the planning was tested far too soon on the death of the client, and we successfully won HMRC’s challenge on Agricultural and Business Property Relief, saving the client a significant sum of Inheritance Tax.  
  4. Being invited to act as a sponsor at the Cultivate Conference event in January 2020, this event saw a delegate list of 250 people in the agricultural sector attend. The conference focused on helping rural businesses and individuals with a growth mindset to innovate further, to collaborate and to thrive.   The principle message aligned with Brightshire’s culture, and I was thrilled to be involved.

Nearing the end of the practices first year, no one could have foreseen the Coronavirus taking centre stage.   The impact has meant that lots of businesses have had to close and unnecessary work travel is not permitted following social distancing rules.  I have been proud to see that Brightshire has been able to respond immediately with home working for the team whilst still providing the service to clients.   The team have continued to update clients on the support the government were giving, and have been assessable on the phone or email for queries which I know has meant a lot to clients.

The focus has turned to assist clients to prepare forecasts and turn around accounts for lenders within tight timeframes.     Our vision to be a trusted advisor, a guide and not just about the numbers and accounts has been key during this time and throughout the challenge’s clients face.

Brightshire’s success could not have been possible without the team around it, which not only includes Lesley, William, Amy and me but the professionals that we work with on a daily basis and the clients.   Thank you and I’m looking forward to the next 12 months.

Twelve months ago, I took the plunge to set up my own accountancy practice specialising in the rural sector. It has been everything I wanted it to be and so much more. ”

Suzanne Preston

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